Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"A Blast From The Past: Blue Water Wetsuits, 1977"

"County Recurrent" is stoked to present three (3) classic old school photos from Blue Water Wetsuits, circa 1977, which our Northern Section correspondent, Steve Hotchkiss, sent along today. All photos courtesy of Steve. Many Thanks to Steve for sharing these great photos with all of us!

From: Steve Hotchkiss
Subject: Who are these guys? 1977
Date: May 12, 2010
To: Will Maguire


Steve Hotchkiss and Frank Brooks posing for the Blue Water Wetsuit catalogue. Do you know who the other two guys are? Jeff Stern owned the company and I got a free wetsuit out of the deal. I don't know what the others got. I need to get this to Frank Brooks. Okay to post if you want.


Can you name the LACo lifeguards that are featured in these photos?

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William Maguire said...

The Following comment, dated 05.12.2010, is from Pete Halenbeck, aka "Zumashark":

"Hi Will,

Frank Brooks was the swim coach at SAMOHI when I was there and help us train for the lifeguard test in '75. Also on the team that year was Leslie Kroon, and Pat Sulivan who both made it at the '75 test.


William Maguire said...

And just in from former LACo Recurrent Lifeguard, Tom Thorson, who confirmed that he did participate in this ad shoot for Blue Water Wetsuits:

"The photos were shot at sunrise (on the beach) at LA County Line. The ads ran in "Surfer" magazine. We were shot both dry and wet... good thing we had wetsuits on."

Thanks Tom!

William Maguire said...

Courtesy of Nick Steers, the following comment is from Geoffrey A. Stern who owned Blue Water Wetsuits and had this to say about these photos in an email reply to Nick's email to him re this blog post:

Long time no speak! This really brings back some old memories.
I think that's Frank Brooks, Tom Thorson, Steve Hotchkiss and Richard Kanner.
I don't think Kanner was ever a guard. I know he got his Ph.D. in chemistry and the last I heard he was in Long Beach. I think Thorson married a girl named Rose Grainer.
That's all I can remember at this point, but it sure is good to hear from you. That picture is one of the very first advertising photos taken for Blue Water and that's the
first logo we used, which Tom is mostly responsible for designing. I sure miss those days.


spyder said...

Oh does this bring me into the wayback machine. Now that Geoff Stern has been found, perhaps we can share some backstory. There was a group of us that hung out at WR Tower 18 in the early 70s. Literally every day we would just hang out, swim, play, lifeguard, whatever. It was there that i got to know Geoff, Frank and Peter, along with Freddy Zendar and Altee Cohen (and many others including Flanafish and JT).

Frank Hotchkiss worked for SCAG as a specialist in environmental planning, among others. He wrote a powerful paper, that i remember very well, about the effects of what was then called thermal pollution put off by cities to the detriment of the environment.

Geoff Stern was perhaps the sanest of the bunch, another graduate of that strange high school Harvard, who had a million ideas of how to make things that would help people.

Peter van den Steenhoven, ran and swam beyond the pale, ended up being Mayor of Santa Monica, and exhibited the trait of always learning something.

Zendar was the original aquatic tech specialist on all sorts of motion pictures, starting with silent films, but his real masterpiece was JAWS. He is most famous, in my mind, for stating that there are three states of water, frozen for drinks, boiling vapor for tea, and the rest you could swim in.

Altee Cohen, along with his cousin xxx Schwartz (i can't remember his first name at the moment) were the godfathers, along with Gene Selznick, of beach volleyball. Altee used to play a lot with Pat Riley in the infamous dilatory throw game training the likes of Fred Sturm, Dane Selznick, Randy Stoklas, et al.

There were all sorts of characters there, dating back to the original Shargos first lifeguarding days, and i am sure continuing on to this day.

Geoff came up with Bluewater in '77 and began production. We all had them it seemed, mine a fine full dive suit, double-lined, without booties. If you talk to him, send him my email address.

the captcha is 'monist'; oh that is just perfect.